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Peter Tatchell writes on The Independent's blogs today:

Will next week's US presidential vote be free and fair? Based on the conduct of the last election, possibly not. The 2004 election was marred by vote-fixing that would disgrace a banana republic. Four years later, few new safeguards have been implemented to prevent a re-run of the voter exclusion and ballot tampering of 2004.

This is the conclusion of Robert F Kennedy Jr, civil rights lawyer and nephew of JFK. In one of the most important pieces of investigative journalism in recent years, published in Rolling Stone magazine in 2006, he revealed how voting irregularities in 2004 were enough to steal the presidency for the Republicans. You can read his meticulous 14,000-word expose here. It is essential reading for everyone who cares about the fate of US democracy. Read more.

Question: Do you worry for the integrity of the election?

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zeitgeistbuzz wrote:
Oct. 28th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
What Election Integrity? part 1
ACORN : Voter Fraud or Voter Disenfranchisement?

They’re at it again, folks. It seems that the only way Republicans feel they can win an election is to prevent votes from being counted-or even better-by preventing voters from voting in the first place. Calling into question every single new voter registration while simultaneously shutting down the Social Security database (for “routine maintenance”) that allows states to verify voter identity would certainly do that.

But, as Rep. John Conyers, (D-Mich.) and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the senior African-American member of Congress, said, “It’s pretty clear. You’ve got a black candidate for president for the first time. Do you think that the usual attempts to suppress voting among minorities are going to go down and not up? Of course not.” ( MSNBC, “Parties Wage War over Voter Fraud, Intimidation”, Friday Oct. 10) But Obama’s race may have nothing to do with it. Concentrating on the mechanics, on the switches and levers of the voting system, instead of the issues, is a tried and true Republican tactic. And it looks like they’re trying it again.

“Conventional wisdom” among pollsters is that a large voter turnout will favor Obama, while a small voter turnout will benefit McCain. So it’s to the Republicans’ advantage to keep the pool of potential voters as small as possible by any means necessary. Charges of alleged voter fraud will hamper voter registration, and thus limit the pool of possible voters. Systematic disenfranchisement of voters based on a smear campaign of unproven “voter fraud” will definitely clog the system and render any outcome of the election doubtful. Or in other words, if McCain can’t win it, he’ll steal it.

These Republican “switches and levers” tactics of clogging the voting system played out in the two previous Presidential elections, most notably in Florida in 2000. “Hanging chad” and uncounted votes were not the only problems facing voters in Florida. The RNC targeted poor, mostly black voters in Florida; these voters were either “expunged” from voter rolls, discouraged from voting at the polling place with stunts reminiscent of the “poll tax” days of the old South, or lied to about the location of their polling place. All of which made for amusing television for the British documentary crew that turned up to film it, but hardly showed off American democracy at its best. Yet the tactic worked. The election did not hinge merely on counting votes; it hinged on preventing voters from voting in the first place. And the Republicans are very, very good at this.

Remember, the recently Republican controlled Congress were the very people who didn’t want to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Just didn’t think it was important enough. Claimed it “was no longer relevant.” By a curious coincidence, that very same 1965 Voting Rights Act made the above tactics illegal, and voting a civil right, not a privilege to be withdrawn at the whim of a government official who doesn’t like either your race or your party. The 1965 Voting Rights Act is “no longer relevant” to the Republican party because they don’t want Americans to vote. They don’t want you to register to vote because the Republican Party knows that Americans will vote them out of office. And that’s the Republican campaign: Jim Crow in a new sheet.




randy_68 wrote:
Oct. 28th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: What Election Integrity? part 1
3 words -- National voter ID.

Ensure people are who they say they are. Then they can cast a valid ballot.
Simple. Give them to people. Free. I'm sure people wouldn't mind a little of their tax dollars to ensure fair elections?
zeitgeistbuzz wrote:
Oct. 28th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)
What Election Integrity? part 2
It would be a mistake to underestimate the effectiveness of this kind of campaign. McCain isn’t; his own polling data tell him he’s running behind, so he’s already laying the groundwork to legally challenge the election results. Co-chairman of the McCain advisory team in charge of monitoring alleged voter fraud, former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, hinted at post-election lawsuits if Obama wins in November. “The contest could go on for a very long time”. Danforth also said it would be “a nightmare in America” and “a total horror story” if Obama either wins or loses by a small margin “and the losing side believes it has been cheated.” (MSNBC, “Parties Wage War over Voter Fraud, Intimidation”, Friday Oct. 10) Mind you, that “nightmare” is apparently described as “justice” when the Republicans are the victors, as in the contested election that first elevated Bush to the Oval Office. American politics is and always has been a game won not by issues but only by hitting the right switches and levers. And if you can’t win…cheat.

Unfortunately, it’s the American voters who get cheated. They’re cheated out of their faith in the system…and that faith is the only thing that makes democracy work. Until the election of 2000, when the RNC took the tactics used to disenfranchise minorities in small towns and used them to win a national election, there was a period in the history of the United States where registering to vote was a right. You did it as a ceremonial right of passage into full citizenship; it was your ticket to the glory of participatory democracy. It meant you were an American. And that was that. You stayed registered until you moved, or died. Voting was the definitive right of being an American. Not any more. Now voters fear wholesale “voter purges” of the electoral rolls by local officials who put party affiliation ahead of protecting the right to vote. Senior citizens worry about being turned away from their polling place of forty years because they can’t produce the correct “voter ID”. Voters in the twenty-first century face harassment from registration to polling place…and above all of it hangs the over-arching fear that their vote won’t be counted. McCain and the RNC have gnawed away at the very root of American democracy; they want to remove the American citizen’s unquestioned and hallowed right to vote, and to have that vote count. Now that’s “un-American,” folks.

(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Oct. 28th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
randy_68 wrote:
Oct. 28th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
I'd wait a couple of years first to see if he actually does what he spouts during the campaign.
splitting_minds wrote:
Oct. 30th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
that's what you do for every candidate. :)
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